To be honest, I'm still in the process of updating this site, so it still needs some tweaking, but feel free to browse around anyway.
Sept. 18, 2012
Another Amazing development - A Youtube user who goes by the name "NewNameNoah" has managed to secredly record video of an entire endowment session . Hopefully at some point I can upload a copy here. Hats off to Noah!
the Endowment video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VrsFEiTpsQ&feature=plcp
NewNameNoah's Youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/Newnamenoah
UPDATE - August 1, 2009
An individual from Europe, an inactive member who has lost their testimony, recently sent me an mp3 of an endowment ceremony they taped in a temple in Europe. This is the THIRD confirmed recording of an endowment ceremony to be made public. I've heard talk of other recordings, but have not heard them. Please see the Audio Page for the recording. It's not very good quality, but is understandable with a bit of effort. It is understandable enough to be clearly consistent with earlier recordings and accounts.
A big welcome to those of you who are here because of the recent controversy over the Big Love episode. If this is your first time looking into this material, here are some suggestions on where to start. The Comparison transcript is the best place to start. It's a color coded comparison between the two most recent versions of the endowment. Several important changes were made in early 1990. There have always been what is refered to as fundamentalist LDS groups, who left the mainstream LDS church because of revisions in doctrine. The changes in the secret temple ceremony spawned the most recent round of departures.
Just be warned, the transcripts ARE long. Consider also going to the audio page, and downloading the audio of the ceremony. Also consider downloading the PDF versions for reference. There are two different audio files. One was made in 1984, and has commentary by the gentleman who made the recording secretly, as well as a minister. The second tape has no commentary, but was made secretly inside an LDS temple in 1990 shortly after the revisions were made.
On January 18th 2005 I received an email from a gentleman that received reports from someone that had been through the temple earlier that day, that some revisions had been made in the washings and anointing done in the temple just prior to the endowment. There was a wording change, but the change that seems to be the most important is in the actual touching that goes on during the anointing. The garment or shield worn during the anointing used to have slits in the side where the one performing the anointing could reach in and touch certain body parts as he or she pronounced an anointing (including breasts and loins). It appears these slits are gone, and the endowee is just briefly touched on the shield in the appropriate spot now.
Back in 1990, the Five points of Fellowship were removed from the endowment. It is rumored that many women felt like they were being groped or felt up during this part of the ceremony. I've actually been told such by one mormon woman who has been through the endowment. Many of us critics suspect the same is at the root of this most recent change. The anointings are done by men for the men, and women for women. I cant speak for women, but as a man, I don't relish the though of being touched in the loins by another man, and I'm pretty sure most other men don't, and the few who do I suspect are not very welcome in the LDS temples.
Welcome to the LDS Temple Endowment site.
This site is a collection of various accounts of the LDS endowment from differerent points in history
There are a number of important differences between the various accounts. The first endowment in the temple at Kirkland, Ohio was very simple, involving little more than the Lord's Supper and ceremonial washing. A few years later it became rather involved, including signs and tokens being taught, with penalties assigned to the tokens. Originally the penalties assigned to the tokens were very gruesome. Over the years they were toned down, particularly sometime between the 1920s and the 1980s. Some think this was in the early 1960s. One researcher who contacted me tells me that he believes that the actual verbal description of the penalties were removed sometime about 1925-30 or so during the presidency of Heber J Grant. (See www.ldsendowment.org for more info on this.) The acccount I have listed as being from 1931 was likely being written just before the changes took place, and was published after, if the 1930 date is acurate. For example, at one point one of the penalties involved saying something like "I would rather have my throat slit rather than reveal the tokens" while drawing your thumb across your throat. Later it involved just making the motion of drawing your thumb across your throat.
- Early Kirkland Endowment
- 1845 & 1846 accounts of the endowment as performed in the Nauvoo Temple.
- 1879 Version - An account published in the Daily Tribune in 1879 of the ritual as done in the Salt Lake City Endowment house
- 1931 version - From "TEMPLE MORMONISM - its evolution and meaning" by A. J. Montgomery. This version shows that at one point the penalties were much more graphic than later.
- 1984 version - from a tape made by Larry Cozad, JR. at the Provo Utah temple - includes the death penalties and other things which were later removed. The penalties in this version are toned down quite a bit. From what one pro-mormon researcher (http://www.ldsendowment.org/) has told me, a major revision occurred in 1927 in which the graphic penalties were toned down. I, and other people, have thought that the revisions had occurred in the 1960s, but it appears they may have occurred just before Montgomery's book was published.
- 1990 version - The current version of the Endowment - with death penalties and other things removed.
- Comparison between '84 and '90 transcripts, with all changes clearly marked
- Preparatory ordinances and Sealing ceremonies
- Creation order comparison between Endowment and Book of Moses
An Historical Sidenote
Thanks to Google Groups, an archive of the original post I made of these transcripts is available.
Back in the summer of '93 I typed the documents on this site in by hand. Well, just the 1984 version. To get the '90 version, about the only thing I needed to do was chop out he appropriate parts, and and a few words here and there.A friend helped me with the 1931 version and with proofreading the other two. He scanned in part of the 1931 version for me, and proofread and corrected all three documents for me. I originally posted them to a couple usenet newsgroups at the end of June 1993 while I was in college. The reaction of Mormons who saw this post was rather unpleasant. Several of them wrote the president of the college I was attending, and outright lied about the copyright status of the endowment, misrepresented themselves as authorized to speak for the church, and tried to get me kicked out of school. All the transcripts I've seen on the web, except for the Kirtland and Nauvoo versions, and one noted below, are all based on my transcripts as far as I can tell. Please feel free to contact me if you feel I haven't given someone proper credit for work they've done. The earliest account from Kirtland is based on journals of church leaders of the time. The account from the 1870s is based on interviews done by a reporter with people who had left the church.
A short recreation
of the 1st day of the endowment movie. Not sure who made this, but the audio appears to be from one of the recordings made inside a temple. The person who sent it to me tells me its a very good recreation of the video, but unfortunately its only the first day.